Time is a funny thing. Before we start to deliver a speech, it can seem as though we have all of the time in the world – how ever are we going to fill up the time that we’ve been given to deliver our speech in? However, once we take the stage or step into the front of the room, time seems to speed up and there never seems to be enough of it. In order to maximize the importance of public speaking, how can we become better at managing this time thing?
Practice, Practice, Practice
In order to get control over your time, the very first step that you need to take is to time how long it takes you to deliver your speech when you are practicing it. It should be pretty clear that if you can’t complete your speech in the allotted time during a practice run, then you’re not going to be able to do so when you give your speech for real.
However, something that a lot of us don’t realize is that the real world of giving speeches is a lot different from the quiet world in which we practice our speeches. What this means is that even if your speech does fit into the allotted time in practice, when you account for audience laughter, questions, and unplanned interruptions your speech may still be too long.
It’s All About The Handout
When you give a speech, you have important information that you want to share with your audience. There is always a possibility that you may not be able to cover everything that you want to in your speech. That’s why it makes sense to provide your audience with a handout that contains a summary of all of your important points.
Note that when I say handout I do not mean a copy of the slides that you may have presented. Instead, it should be additional information that will allow you to focus on the most important details in your speech. Additionally, if your time gets cut short, you can always refer your audience to your handout.
Buy Yourself More Time – Arrive Early
No matter how well you work to make sure that your speech will fit into the amount of time that you’ve been given, things can always happen. What this means for you is that you need to always be sure to arrive early whenever you are going to be giving a speech.
The reasons for doing this are many and varied. You are going to want to make sure that the room where you’ll be speaking has been set up properly. You are also going to want to test out all of the necessary equipment to make sure that it works before you start your speech. Get these things taken care of before you start to speak and you’ll make sure that they don’t cut into your speaking time.
What All Of This Means For You
As much time as we spend trying to get our words right for our next speech, it turns out that there is something that may be even more important: time. We never have an unlimited amount of time to deliver a speech and it’s up to us to maximize the benefits of public speaking by making the most of the time that we’ve been given.
It all starts with practice. We need to make sure that we can deliver our speech within the time that we’ve been allocated. We need to make sure that we’ve allotted for audience induced delays. Next we need to provider our audience with a handout. This will cover any gaps if we have to shorten our speech to meet the available time. Finally, every time you are asked to deliver a speech, make sure that you show up early. This will allow you to resolve any issues without having to waste time during your speech solving problems.
The one thing that there never seems to be enough of is time. As public speakers we need to respect the fact that we don’t control our time; however, we need to take the time to do everything that we possibly can to make the most of the time that we have been given…
Question For You: How many shorter versions of you speech do you think that you should show up with?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
As speakers, we know about the importance of public speaking and would like every speech that we give to be perfect! We want to deliver a great speech in a fantastic setting to a receptive audience. How hard could that be? Well, it turns out that it can be quite difficult! I recently had a chance to deliver a speech under some pretty harsh conditions and I thought that I might share with you how it all turned out…